City of Refuge began under the leadership of the founding pastor, Dr. Dick Druary. Pastor Druary desired to plant a church that would reach out to those in need, foster warm fellowship, pray, and be grounded in the Word of God. Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church helped City of Refuge launch its first service on Easter Sunday, 1996.
After Pastor Druary moved to another ministry, City of Refuge called Pastor Rufus Smith, IV, in 1999. Pastor Smith served as the Spiritual Life Director at the Star of Hope, where City of Refuge was then meeting. After being called to the pastorate, Reverend Smith helped develop City of Refuge into a multi-ethnic congregation under the motto, “Blending Suburban & Urban Believers.”
Under Pastor Smith’s leadership, the church outgrew the meeting space at the Star of Hope. In 2003 the church completed construction on our current building at the corner of Ardmore and Yellowstone. This facility was to serve as both a church and a center of ministry to the Medical Center, Third Ward, and South Union communities. City of Refuge has always sought to use its facility for kingdom growth and to bless the city of Houston. The building sheltered both the Forge for Families and Yellowstone Academy in their early years.
In February of 2012, City of Refuge called its third senior pastor, Ikki Soma, who changed the title of his role to Servant Pastor. Under Pastor Soma’s leadership, City of Refuge has continued to blend across racial, educational, and socio economic lines. He has also led the church in the pursuit of greater spiritual health and a strong focus on discipleship.
In June of 2016, City of Refuge celebrated 20 years of ministry! The video below celebrates the first 20 years of God’s blessing in and through our church.